Managing the Risks of Switch Bills of Lading

NUS Law Working Paper No. 2019/011

NUS Centre for Maritime Law Working Paper 19/03

34 Pages Posted: 8 May 2019

See all articles by Miriam A. Goldby

Miriam A. Goldby

Centre for Commercial Law Studies, Queen Mary, University of London; George Washington University - Law School

Date Written: May 8, 2019

Abstract

This working paper examines the legal and commercial ramifications of issuing switch bills of lading, explores the legal risks involved in this practice, and analyses how these risks may best be managed and mitigated.

The paper examines whether a switch bill of lading constitutes a novation or a variation of the original contract of carrier and discusses who is entitled to request a switch and who must authorise or consent to it. The paper also explores title to sue and liability questions, as well as the mandatory applicability of international transport Conventions to switch bills of lading.

The paper highlights the various commercial and legal risks of consenting to the issue of switch bills of lading and proposes ways in which these risks could be minimised, including through the adoption of electronic alternatives to bills of lading.

Keywords: carriage of goods by sea, switch bills of lading, contractual novation, contract variation, title to sue, carrier liability, fraud, misrepresentation, illegality, electronic transport documents

Suggested Citation

Goldby, Miriam A., Managing the Risks of Switch Bills of Lading (May 8, 2019). NUS Law Working Paper No. 2019/011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3384502 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3384502

Miriam A. Goldby (Contact Author)

Centre for Commercial Law Studies, Queen Mary, University of London ( email )

Charterhouse Square
London, EC1M 6AX
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.ccls.qmul.ac.uk

George Washington University - Law School ( email )

2000 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20052
United States

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